Popular televangelist Juanita Bynum called on her social media followers to show mercy when discussing the life of the late Bishop Eddie Long and said she prayed for him and his victims.
Long, who led the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, died in a cloud of controversy after “a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer” on Jan. 15.
The controversy stemmed from Long’s refusal to publicly address a cloud of allegations in lawsuits filed by multiple men in 2010 who claimed he engaged them in sexual acts while they were teenage members of his church.
Bynum said even though she did not know Long well when the allegations first surfaced, she defended him in her congregation at the time and suffered for it.
“When everything hit the press about Bishop Long, I stood up in my church the first Sunday. And I said to the people, if anybody in this church got anything to say about Bishop Eddie Long, I better not hear it. I’m not turning on the news, I don’t want to see it and I did not. I don’t care what was on CNN, I would not watch it,” said Bynum in a post on YouTube.
“I’m a loyalist to my own hurt. I don’t know how to jump off the bandwagon. If I love you, I love you. I love you, good bad and indifferent. I don’t care. You could kill 20 people, I’ma still come and see you in jail,” she explained.
Her refusal to entertain speculation about Long in her church, she said, resulted in her losing a big part of her congregation.
“… When I said that, when I said ‘if you disagree with me then you can leave now’ … half of my church got up and walked out. The next Sunday I think there was 60 people in the house,” she said.
“I prayed for the victims and I prayed for Bishop. Daily I prayed, I didn’t talk,” Bynum added.
She told her followers, whom she calls “Bumblebees,” that God told her a little over a year ago to go preach for Long and she said when she called him and told him, it was an emotional moment for him and his senior staff.
When she eventually preached at New Birth, she said she watched as Bishop Long wept as she sang a song called “I’m Giving You New Birth.”
She said some critics of Long were approaching the discussion of his life with a wrong spirit that was devoid of mercy.
“Unless you are going to come into a place where you adhere to the word and understand that we are no longer under the law but under the Spirit. And under the law you make people constantly aware of what they do wrong … the spirit says no matter what, the Lord still loves you. No matter what, God still cares about you,” said Bynum.
She said the law came to define and unmask sin, but “the Spirit says no matter what the Lord still loves you. No matter what God still cares about you, no matter what there’s a better way.”
Those who simply like to point out sin, she said, were not operating in the Spirit of Christ.
“That is not the Spirit of Christ. That is not the Spirit of the New Testament,” said Bynum. Where sin abounds she said, grace abounds even more.
“If you’re angry that Bishop fell in the category that he deserved and qualified for the grace of God and for the mercy of God then shame on you! I don’t know what to say. But that’s why Christianity is supposed to be the leading movement in the earth realm. Why? Because of the grace factor. Because of the mercy factor.
“We may screw up this life. We may not get it right all the time, but it’s that grace factor that transitions us from a messed up life to eternal life.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post